Original Research

The lived experiences of late-adolescent female suicide survivors: ‘A part of me died’

Willem A. Hoffmann, Chris Myburgh, Marie Poggenpoel
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 15, No 1 | a493 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v15i1.493 | © 2010 Willem A. Hoffmann, Chris Myburgh, Marie Poggenpoel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2009 | Published: 08 June 2010

About the author(s)

Willem A. Hoffmann, Department of Biomedical Sciences,Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
Chris Myburgh, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg,, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing Sciences, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

People’s thoughts often focus on the suicide victim immediately after a completed suicide. Yet, the real victims of such an event are those individuals who are left behind to cope with the aftermath of the suicide. This phenomenological psychological study explored the lived experiences of late-adolescent suicide survivors, particularly those negative experiences that seemed to worsen in the weeks and months after a significant other’s completed suicide. The research participants were five female late-adolescents (aged 17–22 years) who were recruited by means of purposive sampling at a South African tertiary institution and at youth camps. Data collection consisted of collage-facilitated, face-to-face phenomenological interviews. In addition, some participants provided documentary material in the form of personal diaries, letters and poems. The data analysis was conducted according to Giorgi’s phenomenological method. The following salient experiences emerged during the data analysis: guilt, self-blame, blaming others or God, anger, loss or restriction of ‘self’, depression, suboptimal behavioural coping patterns, changes in relationship dynamics, and suicidality. The results of this study can be used by mental health professionals and caregivers to support adolescent suicide survivors effectively, in the midst of their mourning.

Opsomming

Mense se gedagtes fokus meestal op die selfmoordslagoffer onmiddellik na ’n voltooide selfmoord. Tog is die werklike slagoffers die persone wat agterbly om die lewe na die selfmoord te hanteer. Hierdie fenomenologies-sielkundige studie het die geleefde belewenisse van laat-adolessente oorlewendes ondersoek, spesifiek daardie negatiewe belewenisse wat skynbaar erger word in die weke en maande na ’n betekenisvolle ander se voltooide selfmoord. Die navorsingsdeelnemers was vyf vroulike laat-adolessente (17–22 jaar oud) wat gewerf is deur middel van doelgerigte selektering by ’n Suid-Afrikaanse tersiêre instelling en jeugkampe. Data-insameling het geskied aan die hand van collage-gefasiliteerde, aangesig-tot-aangesig fenomenologiese onderhoude. Sommige deelnemers het addisionele dokumente in die vorm van persoonlike dagboeke, briewe en gedigte beskikbaar gestel vir data-analise. Die data is geanaliseer volgens Giorgi se fenomenologiese metode. Die volgende belewenisse het na vore getree tydens die data-analise: skuldgevoelens, self-blaam/spyt, blameer ander/God, woede, verlies/inperking van ‘self’, depressie, sub-optimale gedragshanteringspatrone, veranderinge in verhoudingsdinamika, en selfmoordneigings. Die resultate van hierdie studie kan deur geestesgesondheidwerkers en versorgers aangewend word om adolessente selfmoordagtergeblewenes effektief te ondersteun in die rouproses.


Keywords

phenomenology; postvention; psychoeducation; qualitative analysis; suicide aftermath

Metrics

Total abstract views: 5524
Total article views: 12734

 

Crossref Citations

1. “Don’t bother about me.” The grief and mental health of bereaved adolescents
Karl Andriessen, Jane Mowll, Elizabeth Lobb, Brian Draper, Michael Dudley, Philip B. Mitchell
Death Studies  vol: 42  issue: 10  first page: 607  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1080/07481187.2017.1415393